Researchers have found the possibility of lowering blood pressure with a breathing exercise that gives the same results as traditional exercise and changing daily lifestyles.
The American Public Radio website said, “NPR” The method is based on strengthening the breathing muscles, just as we do to strengthen the other muscles of the body.
“The muscles we use for breathing tend to atrophy, just like the rest of our muscles as we age,” said Daniel Craighead, lead author of the new research, assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the US.
The research found that taking just 30 deep breaths per day, using a special device, can treat or prevent high blood pressure as effectively as using weight loss medications.
According to a study published by the research team in the Journal of Applied Physiology, 128 adults, aged 18 to 82, were tested for a six-week breathing exercise.
The participants used a handheld device, similar to an inhaler, called the PowerBreathe, that gave some resistance to breathing when inhaling.
Participants had to use it for 5 to 10 minutes a day, taking 30 deep breaths.
Within two weeks, the researchers began noticing an improvement in the participants’ blood pressure, with the side effects of temporary mild muscle pain or dizziness. By the end of the experiment, after about 6 weeks, they noticed an average drop of 9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure.
The team said the results were as effective as medications and may be more effective than lifestyle changes, such as reducing sodium in food or losing weight, and those rates could continue to improve over time, according to Craighead, who spoke with “Insider”.
“People can expect fairly quick results,” the researcher said. “We expect that if you exercise for a longer period of time, your blood pressure will drop even more.”
Dr. Michael Joyner, of the “Mayo Clinic” told NPR, that the effect of a sustained decrease of 9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure is “significant” and this rate is what happens “with blood pressure drugs.”
The NPR website said a 10 mm Hg reduction was associated with a 35% lower risk of stroke and 25% lower risk of heart disease.